Mithun Manhas played a brilliant innings on a poor Feroz Shah Kotla pitch as Delhi look well and truly on their way to notching up their first outright win in the second round Ranji Trophy encounter against Odisha.
Manhas hit the 21st first-class century of his career as Delhi finished their first innings at 331 taking a sizeable lead of 188 runs. Odisha were 7 for no loss in their second essay but it will be very difficult for the visitors to survive on a track which is deteriorating with time.
The 33-year-old Manhas batted for more than six and half hours for his unbeaten 161 on a pitch where most of the deliveries kept low and there was some swing for the seamers which is par for the course in the northern part of the country. Manhas hit 26 boundaries and faced 273 deliveries.
All-rounder Sumit Narwal should also be lauded for his useful innings of 66 off 95 balls which had eight boundaries and a six off off-spinner Govind Poddar.
Manhas and Narwal added 139 runs for the seventh wicket but more importantly beefed up the total to put Delhi in a winning position.
Manhas' innings was an education for the youngsters like Mohit Sharma and Milind Kumar who couldn't adapt to the situation.
The former Delhi skipper was prepared to leave a lot of deliveries outside off-stump but at the same time played some beautiful late-cuts off slow bowlers Dheeraj Singh and Poddar.
When Alok Mangaraj tried to dig in short, he was in perfect position to play the horizontal bat shots.
The century he hit was the 19th in Ranji Trophy and he is now only third in the list of highest Ranji Trophy centurions for Delhi behind Ajay Sharma (31) and late Raman Lamba (23).
Orissa: 143 & 7/0
Delhi 1st innings: 331 (Mithun Manhas 161 no, S Narwal 66, Basant Mohanty 4/81).